Staff at a charity shop have been left ‘devastated’ after an arson attack in the early hours of Monday morning (February 6).
The front door to Young Lives vs Cancer charity shop in Staple Hill was damaged along with much of the stock inside because of the blaze, which police are now linking to a car fire nearby.
Avon and Somerset Police say the fire was started by someone setting alight charity collection bags outside the store, at around 5am. A linked care fire in Kendall Road was also started deliberately, said the force which described the offender’s actions as ‘reckless’.
In a statement provided to Bristol World, Nicola Bryant, the shop manager, said: “Myself and all of the staff and volunteers at the shop are devastated. Lots of our stock has been left damaged by the smoke, and we will need a new front door as well as other repairs. Sadly, it looks like we’re going to remain closed for at least a week.
“We have already been struggling with low stock in the store, so this is going to set us back even more and will mean we’re having to pay out on repairs with money that should be helping young people facing cancer.
“We also had plans to continue fundraising for World Cancer Day this week, which we will now be unable to do. We are calling for anyone in the local area who can donate in any way they can to help us continue to be there for children and young people facing cancer.”
Neighbourhood Sergeant Andy MacMillan is following a number of ‘positive lines of enquiry’, but asked for help from anyone with information.
He said: “It’s fortunate that no one was hurt and neither fire spread to homes such as the flat above the shop. “This reckless behaviour has had a significant impact on the charity shop which has had to close for repairs to the frontage and has had its stock damaged by smoke.
“We’re following some positive lines of enquiry but I’d ask anyone with information which could help to call 101 and give the reference 5223028951.”
An Avon Fire and Rescue spokesperson said: “We were called at 04:56 on Monday 6 February to reports of a fire. Crews from Kingswood and Temple attended and found a fire involving bags of clothing.
Firefighters used one high pressure hose reel and ventilation fans to extinguish the blaze. Two firefighters wore breathing apparatus for safety. The cause of the fire is thought to be deliberate.”
People can also help restock the shop by donating items by clicking here.